It’s a man’s world, they say, and given women’s daily struggles, that statement might just be right. Unfortunately, women often have to overwork and over-perform to prove themselves worthy. If this sounds like you, here are 11 potent strategies from trailblazing women regarding excelling in male-dominated fields.
Table of Contents
1. Strive for Perfection but Embrace Imperfection
One common factor between thriving women is dedication to work hard. However, one woman highlights that women fail to appreciate themselves for it and often downplay themselves, “Men can be kind of fearless with mediocrity, and women can tend to strive for perfection.”
She shares that she voices her opinions and suggestions, even if they’re not “all the way fleshed out.”
2. Focus On Delivering Results
“Competence speaks volumes over time.” One woman shares that despite working in a highly misogynistic environment, she has been promoted twice, while many men have been stuck in their roles for years.
Her work ethic and deliverables have become the ultimate proof of her capabilities.
3. Being Assertive
One who works in the film camera department advises to stay assertive. Call out anyone who tries to call you names, such as “babe” or “sweetheart.” It’s common for women to be downplayed at work by using such terminologies. Don’t be afraid to speak up against it.
This user, in particular, shares that they make sure to have pure technical conversations with new crew members so they can beat down any misguided first impression they might have of her because of her gender.
4. Maintain a Drama-free Zone
Keeping personal drama at bay is a universal strategy. Many women stress the importance of leaving “home at home” and ensuring a drama-free work environment.
This approach not only fosters professionalism but also prevents distractions from hindering their progress.
5. Dress Professionally
One woman shares that she tries to dress in a way that can avoid being sexualized at all costs. By projecting a professional image, this woman aims to redirect focus solely on their skills and contributions rather than appearance.
6. Silent Assertiveness
If you don’t feel comfortable enough to call someone out for their misogynistic behavior, try using subtle approaches. A common one is giving a side-eye for interruptions.
It’s less likely to create a commotion but is an effective strategy to let others know their actions are not appreciated. It’s also an excellent way to maintain a balance between self-advocacy and professionalism.
7. Report to Boss Only
You should only care about getting your boss’s approval. Nothing else should matter. If a male employee is putting you down because of your work or being misogynistic, ignore them because you have all the right to do so.
8. Blend in To Stand Out
In a welding shop, making friends with male colleagues and adopting a casual communication style helped break gender barriers for one user. By talking “like a trucker,” she found acceptance in her heavily male-dominated line of work.
9. Demand Respect Without Compromise
Some women argue they shouldn’t have to “do something” to be taken seriously. Their advice is to find a workplace where equality is inherent, emphasizing that the responsibility for change lies with the industry, not the individual. “After being in tech for 13 years, I realized I could have a Ph.D. from Stanford, and men still wouldn’t take me seriously.”
10. Embrace Inherent Strengths
Contrary to conforming to male behavior, some successful women highlight the power of embracing inherent skills. While men and women are equal in terms of their status, listening, empathy, and unique problem-solving approaches set several women apart, making them indispensable to their teams.
11. Navigate Relationships With Caution
One woman shares that you must avoid dating a coworker as “you have everything to lose and very little to gain by dating.” As sad as it is, you will soon be referred to as “XYZ’s girlfriend” in the workplace. “There are many other fish in the sea that won’t make your job harder.”
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This thread inspired this post.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.